Solving Manufacturing Hiring Challenges

In this The Faces of Business Episode, our guest Andrew Lavoie talks about manufacturing hiring challenges. Andrew is the President of NLG as well as the President of East Coast Accounting Solutions in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

In this The Faces of Business Episode, our guest Andrew Lavoie talks about manufacturing hiring challenges. Andrew is the President of NLG as well as the President of East Coast Accounting Solutions in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Next Level Group (NLG) helps SMB manufacturing companies increase productivity, profitability, & employee engagement by hiring “rockstars”.

ECA offers a wide range of professional accounting services to assist cleints in building a strong financial future.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

The conversation of this episode started with Andrew sharing how he got into the Manufacturing Industries. They talk about the challenges of hiring in the manufacturing industry.

Moving on, Damon asked Andrew, how can a recruiter generate money repeatedly? And, asked about Andrew’s experience and when they leave the site.

Andrew Lavoie tells his experience in recruitment and training. And Recruiters need to supply all the intangibles as well as the right. Hiring managers must also have a plan put together before they even think about interviewing someone.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

He said that interviewers make sure candidates understand everything there is about the company. Links on their website are important to put those links because you will not go searching for them. He needs to make sure that you have a hockey team here as well as He doesn’t know how to prepare for a job interview.

He says that he knows people may beat him up on that, but it’s the truth because he is coming out of a job or my work today. But right now, that is a reality in the candidate-driven market.

Andrew also shares his advice about the culture of your workplace. It can be the smallest things it can be, you know, like a gym membership. And again, it’s not all about money, but it’s about sitting back and talking to people. You don’t need to have a home run every time you want to change something, but it’s about that small win. And that can be the stall in your production because the entry-level positions are where your productions come from.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

By the end of the conversation, Damon said thanks to Andrew for the comments and for being here. Thanking him by saying, it’s just been great. Great, having you today. Andrew also appreciates the situational, behavioral, and cultural questions Damon asked during the interview.

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Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

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Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow



people, skilled trades, clients, whatnot, exit interviews, candidate, turnover, important, talk, company, day, interview, hiring, person, business, bit, andrew, questions, employee, driven


Damon Pistulka, Andrew Lavoie


Damon Pistulka  00:00

Cool. All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, we’re I’ve got Andrew Loverboy, we’re going to be talking about solving manufacturing hiring challenges. So we’ve got Andrew here from next level group. Andrew, welcome.


Andrew Lavoie  00:22

Yes, thank you, Damon, I appreciate the invite here.


Damon Pistulka  00:25

Oh, this is gonna be awesome, because I think hiring is on a lot of people’s minds these days. And I think it’s something that that I just don’t think he could talk enough about it, quite honestly, right now. So happy to get into this a little bit. Now, Andrew, you didn’t start out though, in recruiting or HR, like, like a lot of people, let’s talk about your background, and kind of how you got where we’re at today.


Andrew Lavoie  00:55

I’ll keep this short, because some people will ask me and I can talk a long time about this. But yeah, I mean, I years ago, you know, my kind of my, I guess, equipment and trucks and cranes, and just heavy equipment, or heavy duty in general agriculture and whatnot. So I’ll kind of go down the path of dealerships. And I always, as a kid, I always love being around machinery, and my grandfather owned businesses, and, you know, he was in the machinery world. And so I’ve always been really passionate about it. And so I early on, in my career, I, I did own some forestry equipment. And, you know, I was young, I made, you know, some mistakes, and, you know, kind of went down the wrong path.

And I asked for help, which was, which was, which was great. And then through that process, I learned that I needed to mature more, and I just, I needed to go a different way. And I wanted to stay connected to that industry. So I went down the dealership path, and quickly got hired on with, with, with a company, and kind of went through the ranks with them actually, quickly. And I went into management, and I was on three or four moves with the company, and at the time, I was 32 years old. And I looked at that, and I just, I really didn’t think that I wanted to continue on and continue the moves.

And, and all of that, like all the relocation that comes with, with being management and, and whatnot for the next 30 years. And that was the reality, you know, over the next 30 years, there’s probably four or five more moves. So I wanted to stay again, connected to an industry that I loved. And I wanted to kind of leverage all my relationships that I had built over the past, you know, 1015 years. So basically, yeah, I, I bumped into a gentleman that was in recruitment, and I was fascinated by it. I’m like, so I can help people at the same time, and stay connected to an industry.

So I started calling some of the competitors that I had been dealing with, and, and whatnot, some friends and quickly jumped in, like, you know, full, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. And so, you know, I did hire a coach and some different things. And, you know, I did things the right way, I took it slow, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I didn’t really think I was going to build a business. And then quickly, I realized, whoa, there’s an opportunity here to build a business. And that’s kind of how I get into recruitment. And I, I’m proud to say that, you know, right now, the clients that started with me 10 years ago, we’re just over 90% retention rate from those clients that we’ve had in the last 10 years. So I’m pretty proud of that statistic for sure.


Damon Pistulka  03:44

Oh, yeah, no doubt, because, you know, keeping a client in any business for 10 years is tough. But in recruiting with the changes in in the job market with changes in business and different requirements, it’s got to be very challenging. Now, you’re not in an area of the world, either where you got tons of I mean, do you recruit more for local or regional companies? Or do you do nationally national recruiting?


Andrew Lavoie  04:11

So we have a select client base that we deal with throw Canada and into the United States? Okay. Actually, just last week, we placed somebody in Georgia, we placed people in Hawaii, New York, and Seattle, actually, in Seattle. We have a couple clients there. And obviously, throughout Canada, Canada’s probably our biggest market. But you’re right, locally, not so much locally. We’re Yeah, you know, we’re we live on Prince Edward Island, which is a small island. You know, the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada kind of thing. Yeah, a population of 170,000 people. So


Damon Pistulka  04:48

Wow. Wow. That’s cool. So when you talk about recruiting, you’ve been in this a little over a decade. And so let’s think back so we’re in 2012 when you started this. So we’re coming out of the coming out of the recession, you’re a few years after that things are starting to heat up again. What’s a couple of things that that you go? Oh, man, I never thought this would have happened in the in the industry in the recruiting? Or what are some of the things that are really have surprised you? Well,


Andrew Lavoie  05:21

I guess there’s a few things. You know, obviously, the biggest is that, you know, it went from a client market driven market to a candidate driven market. And we can talk maybe a little bit more about that in a minute. But probably the biggest thing is the shortage of skilled trades.

And, and, you know, that, that probably surprised me the most just because, you know, people now they go to school, they want to do more, they, you know, they’re not only I’ll suggest getting a grade 12 education, but like, they’re going to school and, you know, you would think that skilled trades would be you know, it’s, it’s a quick course, you become a journeyyman quick, you get a chance to work with different companies and try different things and new skills and upgrade.

So for me that that’s been kind of an eye opening experience, because when we first started 10 years ago, probably about 75% of our placements were down that skilled trades Avenue. And, and, and now, it’s, it’s very few skilled trades, and it’s more so on the leadership side, or QA QC production type roles. And yet, not so much on the skilled trades. Side, and, and we’re okay with that now, but we’ve really had to adapt and kind of change our, our thinking on that for sure.


Damon Pistulka  06:41

So when you say you the shortage of skilled trades, do you mean that you have less roles to fill in it or less people to fill roles that are open in


Andrew Lavoie  06:51

less people, it’s a bit of a, it’s a bit of, I’ll say, merry go round. So you know, somebody’s here one day, and then they’re over with this company the next day, and, and they’re demanding, and it looks quite well into a candidate driven market where, you know, 10 years ago, they would leave for a quarter or 50 cents, or maybe just, you know, different hours or, or whatnot, or even a laptop, you know, sometimes, you know, whereas now, you know, they’re asking for five and $6 more an hour at times, and or, you know, big pensions or whatnot.

And people are thinking a lot differently now than they were before. But they’re also they want, they want more on the skilled trade side than we’ve ever had. So, you know, they want a bigger pension or a better pension or better benefits or, you know, Friday afternoons off, or just different things. It’s not just, it is about more money, but it’s also more about, you know, more at the end of the day in terms of the overall package kind of thing, so,


Damon Pistulka  07:56

okay, yeah, it was good. I know that you hear similar things across the US, but, and North America, I mean, everywhere you hear this? So this is something I wonder a lot. Is it just because we’ve done a poor job of educating kids have what the skilled trades really are there for them.

Because these are good jobs. These are good jobs. I mean, and I see, you know, we’ve talked about before my son just graduated from college, and my son had friends that didn’t go down the skilled trades route, didn’t go to college, or even worse yet, dropped out of college, you know, halfway through full of debt, and, and didn’t even consider the skilled trades because no one had ever talked to him about what you can do as a Pipe Fitter as a welder as a, you know, electrician, plumber, whatever the heck it is. Do you think it’s just that we haven’t shown kids that option enough?


Andrew Lavoie  09:02

I think we’re no longer in the high schools. We used to be in the high school. I know like when I went through school, you know, you’d see a counselor you would see there’d be you know, job fairs or orientations are just different things like it could be anything from I’ll say police academy to a ton of skilled trades or different things. We don’t really, I can’t speak for down in the States, but I know locally, we just don’t see that anymore.

And when we see people going to school here are sort of at the tail end of their school. They’re already thinking I’m going out west I’m going to the oil patch, I’m going somewhere different. And you know, they want to fly in fly out rolls and it’s hard to compete with that because that’s driving the local market up whereas before, and I’ll just throw crazy numbers out but before maybe it was $25 an hour.

Then people are going to the oil patch for say 75 locally, you just can’t compete with that. Yeah. And even now like we’re seeing, you know, those some depending on In the industry, whatnot, but like some of the skilled trades are, you know, locally are, you know, 30 to 30 to $38 an hour. And that’s fine, but still, at the end of the day still doesn’t really compete with, you know, the oil patch or some other places, right. So the ones that are going through, that’s kind of where we’re losing them to. And again, that’s I’m speaking locally, but there’s certainly not enough people going into it.


Damon Pistulka  10:24

Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, we see that that effect of the oil fields in the skilled trades is understated, I think a lot and you, you see it a lot more as you’re talking there. But you just can’t compete. I mean, because those I’ve been ill I worked in the oil fields. And I know what those people can do if they work in the oil fields, because they go there they work like heck, for whatever it is two or three weeks in a row, you don’t take days off, you work as long as you can, as hard as you can. And you go home for a week or two, or whatever the schedule is, and, and come back and do it again. And you make you make 30 40% more than you could at home.


Andrew Lavoie  11:03

Absolutely, absolutely. And the other side of it too, is we’re seeing a lot more people go into programming and security, like you know, IT security and just it in general. And yeah, you know, we’re we didn’t really like growing up, we really didn’t have as much of that, right. So and now that’s offered everywhere, right? So and then and then you’re competing with, you know, turbine technicians, and there’s just it’s branched out so much that the talent has been doped, and everybody’s fighting for the same talent.

So it becomes an issue where, you know, I’m working with you today, and then I’m over here tomorrow, and then over here the next day. So that’s, that’s kind of where that market is really struggling. And I think that’s why, you know, when the manufacturing sector started calling, and we started kind of going down that path. That was a really good, the timing was perfect for us to go down that path for sure.


Damon Pistulka  12:01

So when you’re you’re talking with manufacturers today? What are some of the challenges that they’re really having? When he talks about a first of all getting good people in the door? And then we’ll talk about keeping them in just a minute. So getting good people in the door even to come? Interview with them? Yeah, what are some of the things that they’re really struggling with there? You mentioned pay, but that’s, that’s just part of it.


Andrew Lavoie  12:33

Yeah. And when I’m, when I’m recruiting, or I’m speaking with people, I try not to talk about pay and whatnot. I mean, that’s there has to be greater motivation, there has to be pain points on both sides. And it has to be truly a match or a marriage or whatnot. But I guess a couple of things is, it’s twofold. And I have to be careful how I say this. But when we’re speaking with clients, it’s a shift, more so on the client side, because one of the things that when we sit down and we talk, it’s about making sure you give us enough time, that we can check those boxes that you need, but also is that perfect person out there?

You may have to settle a little bit. But have you ever thought about changing the job descriptions a little bit or what about, you know, this person may be really, really strong three out of four boxes, but maybe Sally over here is really good. And she could maybe take that fourth box. And maybe we could change some job descriptions a little bit and maneuver around that. But also, the entry level people are not getting enough attention, and the ability to groom and because they want that perfect home run.

And again, as I’m kind of saying that about the client, it also comes back to they’re also understaffed, they don’t have time to train, right? Yeah. Oh, it is a vicious. It’s a vicious circle of having that communication. What does this look like planning for the future? You know, when we sit down with clients, we want to know, what’s your short term? What’s your long term? What’s your one year? What’s your three year? What’s your five year plan, because we want to truly be with you in a partnership where it’s more proactive and less reactive. So if we’re always on the reactive, you’re maybe not going to have the best experience through that hiring experience. Right?

So you know, we want to we want to give you the best experience, but we want to be able to have time and provide you that that perfect candidate that you’re looking for. But one of the things is we just we find that there needs to be a little bit more time spending on the entry level. And how do we keep those people because well, some of the companies that I work with they think that what we can’t lose the sky at the top, but it’s the guys at the bottom that’s costing them the most money with all the turnover and all the training and all the every day it’s a revolving door.

And you’re at the guys, respectfully when I say at the bar I’m not saying entry level positions, those entry level positions need to have that opportunity to, to grow and to, you need to treat that person with the exact same respect as you’re treating the VP, the VP or whatnot. And that’s where a lot of the times, when I see turnover, I’m seeing turnover that’s happening Friday, because their manager is not around Friday afternoon, and they can’t get answers, they get frustrated.

Well, why am I here for IBM? How Why do I have to make these decisions on a Friday? Well, what’s happening? Why am I going through this? So that’s where really where we’re struggling and maneuvering through all of this is coaching the client with pay attention to those guys on the floor, have allowed them to have the answers that they need, have that communication, have those toolbox meetings, what you know, a Friday afternoon, once a month, or once a quarter or you know, have awards or you know, give them a little something or a pizza or whatever.

But how can you be different in something that we’re all we’ve always done the same way, right? So, you know, trying to when we’re selling something, one of the first questions I asked if, if I interviewed with you today, and you wanted to make me an offer, what would that look like?

And then I’m like, okay, so that offer that you just presented to me is the exact same thing across the street, or it’s the exact same thing over there. How can we sweeten this up a little bit? What makes you different? Let’s think of it in championship Stanley Cups and you know, Lombardi trophies and all of that, like think about like, think about that we’ve recently done a video on this is, you know, how do you become the the Stanley Cup or the champion of your industry, your sector, your region, area or whatnot? And what does that look like? What would that take? Sometimes it’s not a lot, right?


Damon Pistulka  16:51

Yeah. Yeah. And you, I’m glad you at Dallas, I didn’t even know we’re going to talk about this, but you’re 100% on is that that the hidden cost of turnover at the entry level positions is crazy, is crazy. And that that turnover drives more people trying to cover more positions that are in higher levels trying to cover the their people that they don’t have, they’re doing things so they can’t train new people.

It makes it even worse, because this is the first time that I’ve talked to a couple people about this in the last few months. And you brought up the point that you’re understaffed already. So it’s really hard to train people, new people coming in. But yet those are the people that you got to train the most, because that’s where your turnover is highest. Yeah. Oh my goodness.


Andrew Lavoie  17:41

100%. And I didn’t want to go in that circle. But I we started down there and I just Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  17:46

no, no, but you’re right. You’re right. It’s like into You wove in the other piece, too. And we’ll talk about this in a minute. But you’ve got a workforce coming to work for us now are turning into these businesses now. That has different expectations than the generation the Gen Xers the millennials, you know, millennials, we already know we’ve been in that a while, but the Gen Xers before him drastically different expectations. I mean, they don’t want to be left to figure things out.

They want someone to help them through it, and do these kinds of things. So when you were talking about the Friday afternoon decision with somebody being gone, and someone having to make an uncomfortable decision or not know what they’re doing. That’s simply not a not a fact in in their lives now, and they don’t want to be a part of it. Yeah. So oh, so how?


Andrew Lavoie  18:51

We could talk for two hours on this? Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  18:53

No, I’m just trying to I had a whole bunch of questions here. But I’m thinking about different ones. Because this is this is something I think, though that once manufacturers figure it out, they can be that Stanley Cup manufacturer, the one where people come to work, want to come to work when new people existing people want to stay there because I really think that you brought up a great point there.

By if they do that little bit of extra that can set them apart from everyone else. Those problems go away. Yeah, or can be severely mitigated. And if you can wake up in any business today in the in the employee driven job market that it is, and you could say hiring people is not a challenge for me now. How much how much better would just sleep at night?


Andrew Lavoie  19:49

100% percent. And there’s a piece that I haven’t even spoken about this is a lot of this turnover can be stopped if You have the right exit interviews, and a lot of companies think that an exit interview is just, you know, what, it’s, it’s fine. They’ve already given their notice, you know, we countered offered with, you know, matching the offer, they chose to go down a different path. But it’s, it’s not about the money.

Like, when it comes to exit interviews, what we’re trying to show our clients is that, don’t think of it in lines of matching the offer or what like, it’s the Intel you get from that. So, you know, maybe I, maybe I leave and I tell you some uncomfortable things in that, that enter that exit interview, but then maybe you say the same thing. And then somebody else says the same thing, maybe there’s issues that they really didn’t know that they had, and human a lot from an exit interview, and we have an I gotta, I have to be extremely careful going down this path.

But, you know, we know of somebody right now, their exit interviews have extremely ramped up. And you wouldn’t believe how many people that they have saved in the last six to 12 months. It’s, it’s, it’s amazing to see, and they’re really not doing anything any different, is they’re sitting down, and they’re listening to, well, I want I want more, I wanted to do this, you know, I’m not I don’t have enough responsibility, like, what we’re, what’s your plan for me, and all of a sudden, it just becomes a communication thing, or some dialogue where they’ve had no communication, they’ve been on the floor for two years.

And there’s been no communication, they’ve just been left there. And, and, and whatnot. And all of a sudden, it’s like, now that you’re now you’re interested in where I want to go in the company and all of this, like, why haven’t had this conversation a year ago, or six months ago? So now all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, you know what, like, we can create a roadmap to you to get or for you to get there. And here’s how we’re going to do it. So it and then all of a sudden, it’s like, well, maybe I’m going to stay and when I when I speak with somebody.

And one thing has been trying to train our team here is that if you have a counteroffer with one of your candidates, don’t be upset, but figure out did did that client solve that pain point? So what if the pain point was I don’t know, benefits? Well, one of the first things I like to ask the candidate Well, that’s fantastic. I’m glad that you know what, I’m glad that you guys were able to compromise. And you did this. And so did they solve pain? Point? A, B and C? Yes, they did. Okay, that’s fantastic. On the flip side of that, well, how was your exit interview? Did they solve pain?

Point A, B, and C? No, they didn’t. They just gave me more money. It’s like, Well, okay, so what happens in six months from now, so. So there’s, there’s two different avenues with that. But that’s one of the things that we try to work with our clients is that the importance of exit interviews are more important now than they’ve ever been to minimize your turnover. And especially, especially on the lower left on the entry level positions, on the VPS. and whatnot, typically, they’re going because there’s a different avenue or there’s, there’s, there’s a different flame that they’re chasing. But for entry level positions, let’s be honest, like, that’s, that’s what can save it right?


Damon Pistulka  23:10

Well, and you bring up such a great point with the exit interview, you end you may not be able to save the person you’re talking to at that point. But there may be 200 other people out there that are working out there that you just found the idea that’s going to save the 20 that are thinking about leaving next week. And that’s the thing that I think is so powerful in the in what you’re saying about the exit interviews is that you could be making the changes with everybody else that would stop it overall, by understanding what’s happening in in an area or overall in the company, or, you know, you go through a half a dozen, those exit interviews, and you could just figure out, these are the,


Andrew Lavoie  23:53

these are the six things we’re gonna workout or they’ve got one or two that, that rise to the top that if we take care of these, but you’re right, if people aren’t leaving, you don’t have to replace them. Absolutely. Because one of the things I do find in entry level positions is that and I’ll just say, you know, let’s say production tech, for example. Yeah, or packaging associate or something like that.

Well, you know, if you’re going from one company to another across the street for a packaging associate, typically, the way that it works, is that okay, I’m missing this right now. This is my pain point. But over here, they fix that. But also over here, sometimes, there’s it’s creating another pain point that this company had already solved for you. Right. So it’s about having that dialogue in that communication and whatnot. So yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s an important piece for our clients.


Damon Pistulka  24:43

Yeah. Yeah. To read. It says, exit and mirrors are vital to getting a pulse on what may be broken within the culture of the organization that is driving a turnover. Yes, exactly. Exactly. And it’s I never thought deftly They missed opportunities because, and so if you’re is are you talking to your clients about doing exit interviews before people exit? Absolutely, absolutely say that I’m just like, why the heck Aren’t we just bringing employees in randomly?

And okay, so first of all, just think about it as an employee, I’m an entry level employee, and, hey, you need to go, go talk to the HR person. Oh, no, what’s wrong? And if it’s a good experience, how awesome would that be for you to help curate the good flow in the business?


Andrew Lavoie  25:33

I’ll tell you something. And this is a personal experience a little off topic for a second, but how important it is for toolbox meeting. They’re called a million different names. But yeah, these meetings, whatever, how important we used to when I was back in the dealership world and in management, we used to have it but it was more of a, you know, joking around, have fun, but it was just more of like, you know, just let’s release the tension. Let’s, let’s just take 30 minutes and enjoy a good conversation that we’re not talking about work, and get to know each other.

And one of the things that I quickly found was, I had one of my best guys on the floor, I noticed there was a bit of a change in behavior, and I could never figure it out. And one day he came to me and he was he was he was to the point where he was going to give us notice. And like every other employer, I didn’t want to lose that guy. I wanted to know what happened. And it was a Friday afternoon, and we just started having conversations. And you know what his breaking point was, and he said, he said, Andrew, I love working with you.

But he said, I’m tired of being in the field, and being asked for stuff. And I can’t give anything he was like, our clients are spending 1000s of dollars on repairs and 1000s of dollars, hundreds of 1000s of dollars in equipment and this that and the other thing and he was like, they asked me for something for free said All they want is a keychain or a pair of gloves or, or a hat or something he’s like, I don’t even care if it’s a $5 item. And he was like, and you told me it wasn’t in our budget this year. And I sat back and I and like, what that did to me that day, you have no idea. Like, I couldn’t believe that something.

So like, I was gonna lose my best guy over this. Like, I’m like this, this can’t this cannot happen. And I brought that following Monday, I brought everybody in and we had a, we had an amazing conversation. And I’m like, guys, like, I can’t do this without you. And vice versa. And like your input and your ideas are more important than mine. You guys are in the field, you’re on the shop floor, you’re doing this your interaction is more important with the clients than mine is, how can we write this and, and in the stuff they started sharing, we quickly and I actually have the word right over here.

One of the things that we did that year in the next 18 months, we went from one of the bottom shops, we went to the top, we went to the top and we received an award for it. And it wasn’t anything I did. It wasn’t it was over it was over three at the time. $3.50 cent pair of gloves. And I was able to keep that guy but like, what happens if I would have lost him over $3.50 made no wouldn’t make any sense, right? Just because we didn’t communicate?


Damon Pistulka  28:10

That is such a great story. It’s such a great point. Because there it’s the little things that matter in most cases. You know, and sometimes I even look at before I’ve had, I’ve had people in situations where you know, they will quit well, sometimes it’s like, I never get to see my kids baseball game or hockey game or whatever they want to see it because their shift coincides with it. You know, if you just let them once a month, or every other week or something, get a couple hours, it could be the difference between, like you said, losing a good employee or not.

And I just I look at manufacturing now where you work. And I think that and this is something I did want to talk about is if we really rethink the way that we run manufacturing companies, and I’m talking about production, because we all know that we can do the remote in the some of the office areas and some of the other ancillary places that aren’t there touching things, right and moving product. It’s those places, though, where we’re touching product that if we can be more flexible, and give people within reason, obviously, but if you can let somebody take some time off and somebody else fill in and do a back and forth with similar work, people that are working.

I think that is like the panacea of giving people the flexibility to really keep them around. Because if I see anything as you look at the younger workforce, and I have no frame of reference, I haven’t hired this but just raised an opinion around kids is the flexibility that they like to have. Yeah, and if you can give a younger person and even think someone with kids, they, for some reason, they’ve got to do some go to a doctor’s appointment with a with a kid or something like that.

And if they could switch with a worker, a different worker on a different chef for an hour, what’s the big deal? If they can schedule it? You know, it’s, and we, because we get so used to Hey, you work from 12? A, you work from eight to, you know, whatever, and are 12, whatever that is, and, you know, you get these places. And I just think that’s flexibility. And really rethinking. I heard a manufacturing company, here in the Northwest, that was putting in childcare?


Andrew Lavoie  30:41

That would be huge.


Damon Pistulka  30:42

How big a deal is that? Yeah. Even if you could just say, it’s, I mean, we got big buildings, right? You told me you can’t, you can’t put something in, that’s gonna, even if you had people that we’re working a four hour shift, and you could take care of any right worker, the right situation, the right stuff, a couple people take care of 10 or 12. People, what could you do? How could you diversify your workforce? How? It’s like, we got to we got to go beyond the person that’s gonna be there every single day for eight hours, or has can live a life that has no flexibility in it? I mean, I just think we’re at that point, and I don’t think we’re going backwards.


Andrew Lavoie  31:24

Yeah, you’re right. And really quick, one of my clients, one of the things that I pride, and I give them a pat on the back for is that recently, they are as far as training, they don’t do it at the shop anymore. And, you know, we sat down, and we looked at this and at the facility. And so we sat down, we looked at it said, Well, how can we be a little bit different here, because we’re losing two ways where, you know, the employee is doing training at the facility, so you’re paying for that employee to be there. But beyond that, is we have to think that’s lost revenue, that’s lost time. And then also, on the flip side, what if we gave them a bonus for finishing a module at home?

Or what if you paid them, you know, two hours for that module at home, one of the things that he started finding at Christmas this year, everybody wanted to do training at home, because they wanted additional money for Christmas.

So November, November, December, everybody was pounding through training at home because it was additional money. And now what that’s one of our selling features when we speak with candidates, and they’re like, Wow, I get paid for training it at home. Like that’s a real thing. So, so they like that, because they have that opportunity and doesn’t seem like a big thing, because you’re gonna get paid for it anyway. But it’s just something simple that, you know, they get extra money, right? So yeah,


Damon Pistulka  32:45

but it’s, you’re right, it’s lost productive time at work. And if you can do the training at home, it’s, it’s a win, right there. Absolutely. But those are the kinds of things those are the kinds of things even when you talk about I interviewed Lisa Ryan, she’s in the US, she speaks with a lot of manufacturing groups about retaining talent. And she was talking about the experience, the way changing the experience, from the time you decide to hire somebody and tell their first step into your facility is huge.

And she talked about, you know, sending them sending them a gift bag or a welcome packet or something like that, and how big a deal that is, and how to work through that. So let we’ll come to that. Because I think that’s cool. But you were talking about something before we got on that I don’t want to go over because I think this is really important. And that’s when you’re working with clients. You walk through the process with them. Let’s talk about what you’re doing there. Because I think that is that is really cool. We’ll talk about connecting people to the business and things like that, but talk about walking through this overall candidate process. Yeah, well, when


Andrew Lavoie  34:08

we sit down with our client, and we schedule an interview kind of thing. So one of the things that we’ll ask is that, you know, it’s a map of the facility. So we’ll have everything kind of prepared for our candidate. And it could be a map of the facility map of the parking lot, or whatnot. But we want to know, what is what does that experience look like? So if I show up at your facility, you know, for a nine o’clock interview. Walk me through that. So when I drive in the parking lot, is there a guest parking lot? Do I park up front? Which door to go and how many doors do you have?

And it’s funny because I get I get the same reaction a lot of the times, especially with somebody new, it’s like, well, what do you want to know all that for? Well, I don’t want to have somebody show up 15 minutes early to be 15 minutes late sort of thing because they went in the wrong door, or they had to fill out forms or whatever. So wouldn’t one of the things that I like about this is when we start walking through the process with our clients, they quickly find what we have a hole here, oh, we don’t really have a plan there. But really what that process is, is that it’s a comfort thing for everybody. Right?

So and what I mean by that, is that right through from, you know, parking your car, which door, you win any paperwork, you have to fill out, who are you going to ask for? How many people are in the meeting? And that’s critical, because one of the things that some of our clients have done in the past, they’ve scared candidates off. And what does that what does that mean? Well, they thought they were meeting one candidate or one, one interviewer, and there was four people in the room. Well, it was intimidating, right? Yeah. So now it’s like, okay, so you’re meeting three people. And, you know, this is what this looks like.

Then here’s the process after the fact. Being in a candidate driven market, that’s critical, and it’s not critical as critical on my end, but it’s also critical on your end, to share those steps after the interview is over with that candidate. And what does that look like, so that when they leave, they’re in a candidate driven market, you have one kick at the can, in most cases, to figure out how you want to attract that employee. The other thing is, is that I’ve kind of skipped over was that if I’m the interviewer, those days of, I’ve got an interview in 20 minutes, so I’ve got to run downstairs, take this resume and kind of zip through it.

Those days are over. It’s how can I how can I speak with that employer, that process prospective candidate? Without even looking at the resume? So what are some of the questions, so we actually will provide some of our clients, different questions based on the resume and the strength of the resume. And what I mean by that is that we’ll look at it from, you know, cultural fit behavioral situational type questions, those three types of questions are, are critical, because I may have to ask you all kinds of situational types, quest site type questions, but the next person, maybe it’s all cultural, or, or whatnot.

Right? So those types of questions are, you have to think about it in advance, you’re not just running to the interviewer? Because much like, we used to get the calls from a client, well, that candidate wasn’t ready. Well, he didn’t know anything about our company. Well, now the truth is also in reverse. What did you know about the candidate? Yes. Right. And when they leave the site, how was that experience? Where they walked to the door?

Who brought them to the door? What was the conversation? How was that left? What are the next steps? How soon are you going to be reaching back to the candidate or OS for to reach back to the candidate, and we have to stick to that. So you know, those days of okay, we need a week to two weeks to speak with somebody else. Now that candidate is gone, that candidate is gone. So yeah, so it’s really that whole process needs to be revamped from the client side of the things from side versus the candidate. So yeah, that great


Damon Pistulka  38:06

stuff in there, because you brought up so much. I was thinking, listening, as you’re talking about it, everything down to the, to the interviewers going in there, if you’re going to have more than one person in the interview, you better know, hey, you’re gonna ask about this kind of stuff. I’m asking about this kind of stuff.

They’re gonna ask about that kind of stuff. And we need to, it’s a completely different interview process, isn’t it? Because you said you have to be able to attract the candidate. So you’re really Yes, we have to assess skills fit for the position, but you’re also then have to go, okay, and how can we differentiate ourselves? And how can we ask the right questions for them to tell us? What will make them want to come here? And then communicate that?


Andrew Lavoie  38:57

Absolutely. So as a as your recruiter, so if you’re manufacturing company, ABC today or pharma company, and, you know, you’re dealing with an external recruiter, it’s like, you know, if I don’t see the name on the top, or any of that history, or, you know, dates or any of that, if I really kind of know their last three jobs and kind of what they’ve done, and what they’ve accomplished, the recruiter needs to be able to supply all the intangibles as well and the right, so what does this look like? And what does this hand look like? And when they supply that portfolio or that case to the client, they need to be able to look at that and say, okay, based on what I’m seeing, I’m curious about this.

I’m curious about this, but also, here’s the environment that they’re going to be working in. And this manager that they’re going to be working for has this type of personality. Oh, but they’re also reporting to this person 20% of the time and they have this type of personality. What is the mesh? What is what does that look like and how do we match that all together? And those are the types of when I talk about cultural or situation Oh, yeah, we need, we need to have that plan put together before we even think about bringing this person into the interview. So it goes both that’s incredible has to do the job. And the hiring managers have to do have to do the job.


Damon Pistulka  40:23

You in a minute there 40 seconds, whatever that was, you explained how the recruiter can put make their money over and over and over. Because seeing that picture, understanding what we need to find out about that candidate based on your conversations with them prior to them coming to the company, based on what you see in the resume, based on what you know about the company and then your situation with your long term candidates like that. You are clients, you get to understand the clients well enough so that you can say, you know, Damien’s going into this position. And I know, here’s the two supervisors that are going to be there.

These are the things I mean, it’s just, it was incredible, man, it was incredible, really what you just said, because that is how you get the right people in the right place. And really understand if we’re hiring a good, good getting a good fit between the employee and the potential candidate and the employer. That’s awesome. Awesome. If people weren’t listened to that, they should stop and go back and listen to that part. Because if your recruiter is not doing it, that’s mean, it’s finding people. That’s one thing, but giving them the insight, and what you think they should the employer should be asking to make sure it’s a good fit. That’s valuable. Yeah, that’s real value there, like


Andrew Lavoie  41:55

even from the recruiter side, and I’m not, so I don’t want to speak for recruiters or whatnot. And I’m not selling anything here. But like, one of our strategies is, so let’s say, Damon, we’re moving you today, across the country, for example. And so when we kind of interview prep you and we go through that process with you, you know, it’s we want to make sure a you understand everything there is about the company. You have information on their website, some of their jobs, some of their changeover, some of their stats, retention, turnover type of department, if that position is turned over multiple times, or is it a replacement? Is it an addition?

What does that look like? Is there responsibilities? Is there opportunity for growth? Then we go through and say, Okay, what if in order to come, I’ll say to Prince Edward Island, so in order to relocate to Prince Edward Island, what is it that will be important to you? Well, you know, do you like sports? Well, if you do, okay, well, you know, I need to make sure that you have, you know, we have a hockey team here, or university or you have kids that are going to university, well, we have a great vet school, we have great culinary, but maybe we don’t have kinesiology, for example.

So all of these things are important to put those links, because you’re not going to as a candidate, you don’t have the time and you’re probably not going to go searching for it. And I know people may beat me up on that, but it’s the truth because I’m coming out of a job or my work today. And I’m jumping into an interview and I’m somewhat prepared, but I don’t know necessarily how to prepare, right? Because the reality is, is that I don’t need to do a lot of preparation because if you don’t make me an offer, today, the guy across the street is going to make me an offer.

Sorry for saying that. But right now, that is a reality in the candidate driven market. So if we were to kind of back that up a little bit, if we put everything right there for you from you know, what are your recreational type activities, do you like beaches, or golf or hot sport, whatever, whatever it is. So we put that in there. And then from there, we will also make sure we’ll tell the client we’ve done this, you can ask them some questions on that to make sure they’ve done their due.

And even real estate agents, we put three real estate agents, we put an accountant and we put two lawyers in and even right down to that and we want the client to ask them if they’ve done their research and that’s an important piece both wings and but that’s an opportunity for you to really get to know each other and ask about the area and the company and all that stuff. But it goes it is a two way street but the recruiter needs to go that distance for sure. Yeah, and there’s a lot more to it than that but they need to know


Damon Pistulka  44:39

he makes a good point. So too because that could be in a in a candidate driven market. That can be the separator right if if my kids uh, you know, got dreams of being an NHL hockey player and you’ve got a good program in the area where you’re at in the other place, doesn’t he? She might be the one that wins and these kinds of things are very important in making it easier because especially moving, I’ve done it a couple of times and moving across the country or across, you know, across North America is no small feat in in both just the difficulty in doing it, but then the toll it takes on a family, at least in the initial. So, yeah, that’s, that’s awesome.

That’s awesome advice. So, people listening can get some get some real tips on what they want to find in a recruiter or they can contact you and we get to the end, we’ll talk about this to be this as she is loving this guy. I do too. And I knew Andrew was going to be good after our other conversation prior to this. And because you’re also part of manufacturing masters, which is where we originally met, and if you’re in manufacturing, you don’t want manufacturing Masters is I think you should look it up.

So there’s a lot of good people in there. So this is we’re getting caught up with our 45 minutes already. And I’m like, oh, man, we could talk a long time on this. So let’s, let’s wrap up with this. We’re going to talk just a couple things. We talked about this a little bit. But what do you think some of the things that the companies that you see that are really doing a good job of making change? What a couple things that you see them do that maybe some others aren’t doing that they should really consider?


Andrew Lavoie  46:26

Well, that’s a bit of a loaded question. For sure. There’s, there’s a lot of different, like, people are just trying to be creative right now. They’re trying to find their own way. It’s what separates you, it can be the smallest things it can be, you know, like, I have one client came to me today. And they said, Andrew, if it makes we really want this person, if it makes sense if we know that they’re an active person, and we’ll give them a gym membership. While it’s little things like that. But it’s not just the one offs. It’s like, you know, how can how can you change the culture?

How can you? How can you change, because if you do that, for me today, that I’m going to tell more people about that, well, if you’re athletic, or whatever you’re going to, you’re going to take advantage of that. So I mean, that’s just one thing. And again, it’s not all about money, but it’s about sitting back, communicating, having conversation and trying to be proactive, and really listening to entry level positions, because a lot of entry level positions can cost a lot of money really, really, really quick, and print.

And that can be the stall in your production, because let’s face it, the entry level positions, that’s where your productions coming from, usually not at the top, it’s usually your entry level. So you know, have regular conversations meeting toolbox, meaning a pizza, once a quarter an award or some safety or whatever it is, but just what is it that’s going to separate little like small wins, small wins. So that’s the best way that I can say it, you don’t need to, you know, have a home run every single time that you want to change something, but it’s about that small win.

But one of the things is, is that when we’re speaking with a team, it’s that, you know, just look, just look at the look at the full picture, and listen to staff listen to staff, they’re going to talk to you. And usually if one person says it, everybody else, or a lot of others are going to say it or some others at least are going to say it. And then you can start to say, sift through some of that, because maybe not all employees are going to say everything. But you’re going to quickly find out a lot of information really, really quick from the floor. And that’s where a lot of your information and your small wins can come from so yeah. Awesome. I’m trying to be politically correct on that one.


Damon Pistulka  48:44

Awesome advice. Awesome advice, though? No, it is you have to you have to listen to people and really ask and I think that’s honestly, in business, you know, in the employer driven markets. It’s, it’s, you know, we’re doing what we need to do to get what we need. And now the tables being flipped as they are you really, as you said, how can you change to be more attractive to people to come to work, where you’re at? What are what are some of the things you can do and just subtract more of the people that you want, by getting better and it comes from listening to them to people you’ve got, and maybe making some changes to make it better for them and,


Andrew Lavoie  49:27

or even like from a candidate side, the small win for them could be a little like my job is I don’t know, let’s say I’ll say packaging, for example, because that’s an easy one. Well, maybe I want to you know, maybe I want to run a machine or maybe I want to learn more about automate the automation process or, or whatnot. So, you know, if I’m sitting there doing packaging for the next two years, I’m probably going to get bored and nothing gets back to you. I’m saying in general, you mean the same thing with my hands every single day.

A Yes. It could be the small when of having the conversation. Well, I have an interest in Sally’s position over there maybe you know, for a few hours a day, could we just kind of trade off just to wake up, we’re just different set of eyes or whatever. Little things like that, like it will go a long way. And the other side to that is actually one of my pharma companies, they actually trade some of those positions. Not too often. But every now and then they’ll swap positions a bit. They say that it refreshes the candidate, believe it or not, it’s a refresher for them.


Damon Pistulka  50:33

Yeah. Yep. That’s a good, good, good point, because moving around and flexibility and then changing up the workforce, because what will happen is, you know, this happens, notorious for happening in accidents, as you can work around very dangerous equipment. And you don’t, you don’t realize because you can move this big thing with your finger that it weighs two tons. And if you get pinched between some it’s gonna crash. Yeah. You know, it’s and people see that.

And they understand that when they go to work and other places and come back again, otherwise, you don’t get so familiar. But anyway, Andrew, it’s been awesome having you here today, we could go on a lot longer about this, but solving the solving, manufacturing, hiring challenges, you’ve given a lot of gold, you know, a lot of gold advice here. Differentiate yourself, make yourself better for people to come to work, where work there. Take care of your entry level people because that turnover is eating you alive. And then make sure you’re talking to your people and asking them what’s going well, what’s not going well and make it better for him.


Andrew Lavoie  51:41

So absolutely. And thanks situational, behavioral, and cultural questions during your interview process.


Damon Pistulka  51:47

It will help. Awesome, awesome stuff. Thanks so much for being here. I want to thank the Vita. Thanks to you for the comments, Mike for being here. Thanks so much. It’s just been great. Great having you today, Andrew. Oh, and you’re on. You’re on target there.


Andrew Lavoie  52:05

Thank you. You’re being generous. Thank you.


Damon Pistulka  52:08

All right. Well, today we’re talking with Andrew laboy NEXT LEVEL group. He’s HR got an HR recruiting and consulting company. People can connect with you on LinkedIn. Andrew said a good place. Absolutely. Yes. Forums, next level group. And what’s the website?


Lavoie  52:24

And L G? So nl Or on LinkedIn.


Damon Pistulka  52:30

Okay. All right. Well, and your link will be in our show notes and be on our blog post when this comes out. But thanks, everyone for being here day. Thank you, Andrew. And we will be back again later this week with another show.


Andrew Lavoie  52:43

Alright, thanks, Damon. Thank you to the guy.

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